Okay, so much happened this week that it basically all averaged out to sort of okay I guess 🤷♀️. Be warned: this issue of Horrific/Terrific is meaty. Not so much a brain fart, more like brain sausage.
Scroll joyfully downwards for:
- The Cyberpunk 2077 ransomware attack — with crunchy deep-fried takes from Rosa Carbo-Mascarell AND Josh Balfour (don't say I never give you nice things)
- Elon Musk says: Doge
- Should we just pay for Twitter?
🤑 The Phantom Doge Master
Listen, I don't know what the hell is going on, but apparently Elon Musk is in charge of whatever it is. Of course, he is the richest person alive, so I guess technically he's in charge of everything? Like if he came into my house and took away my ukulele, saying "this is mine now", I'm pretty sure there would be nothing I could do to stop him?
💸 Anyway, anyway: according to all my Twitter ads, BUY DOGECOIN NOW. A month ago (and like... ever since it was invented, probably), it was worth less than 1 cents, and now it is worth about 8 cents. Why? How? The answer is Elon Musk.
Apparently Musk tweets are to cryptocurrencies that Trump tweets were to US policy, people's perception of the truth, and reality as we know it. The Muskinator has tweeted about Dogecoin seven times since last Thursday, and that is the cause of this spike.
🐕 In case you don't know what Dogecoin is: it's when a meme grows up and becomes a cryptocurrency, obviously.
If you think that's all, you are... wrong
Because Tesla just bought about $1.5bn Bitcoin and will also be acceping Bitcoin payments going forward. So, if anyone tries to tell me that they are an environmentally-friendly company ever again, I will kindly ask them to follow this arrow → 🗑️
Elon also said on Clubhouse "I do at this point think Bitcoin is a good thing". Oh you do, do you? You do think that, at this point? Anyway, seeing as he thinks that, Bitcoin went up by 2% on Monday. Good for him!
☝️The point of me highlighting all this to you is so that we don't forget: stock markets are dumb, crypto exchanges are dumb, rich people are dumb, and the world we live in is the one meme format none of us could have ever predicted.
🕹️ Cyberpunk? More like Cyber ATTACK
When I purchase a computer game and it does not meet my expectations I usually just shrug and go and play a different game. This week I discovered: that is a LOSER response. The much more measured and responsible thing to do would be to HACK the studio who made the game, and teach them a lesson!
In case you have no idea what I'm talking about, the studio behind Cyberpunk 2077, CD Projekt Red, fell victim to a ransomware attack this week. They were presented with a readme that said they had been 'EPICALLY pwned!!' My god, how embarrassing for them. The last time I got epically pwned was in 2005...
FURTHER CONTEXT: Cyberpunk 2077 is a game that was announced in 2011. It was going to be a genre-defining game. It was going to change your life. When it finally came out in 2020, it — weirdly — did not quite live up nearly a decade of hype. Also, the initial release was very buggy, and almost unplayable on some consoles. Is it possible that the game developers were overworked and underpaid?? 🤔
Enough of my waffling — here are some experts
Luckily for all of us, two of my favourite people are equipped with industry-specific knowledge, and therefore have offered thoughts and opinions that are even more high-quality than my own. Choose your curly-haired fighter:
- Rosa Carbo-Mascarell: game designer extraordinaire, influencer of ~ good vibes and positive feelings ~
- Josh Balfour: software engineer, master shit-poster, regularly solves all the world's problems over cocktails with me
I asked Josh who did this attack. Without hesitation, he said: "They were definitely British. Otherwise, they're pretty much just douchebags tbh. They were probably like 15 or something". Just FYI, the best thing that Josh ever taught me is that most 'cyber crime' happens because a teenager was bored.
I asked Rosa the same question. She informed me that Gen Z don't say 'pwned' because that's what we used to say. I trust her, she's got strong TikTok game. Rosa believes the people behind this were angry adults, who were disappointed by the game — a loud, overly-coddled minority of gamers who feel entitled to the idea that every game they ever play should meet 100% of their needs.
She described these gamers as "a mob, who can get quite angered and inflamed, and studios weaponise this for their corporate interests". The whole Fortnite VS Apple thing from last year is a great example of that.
So basically, if gamers were indeed behind this, it's likely that they would justify this move as (puke) hacktivism. Because demanding MONEY from a game studio who (according to them) are doing a TERRIBLE JOB is just what activists do. Actually... that's what assholes do. Josh's take:
"If they'd mentioned anything about overworked devs at all then, fair enough. But they just said they didn't like the game. [...] If they did it properly [demanded to put a stop to crunch culture] this may have worked. Like if they asked to sign something which bound them to not making their employees work overtime [...] 'we don't want money, we want change' would be a surprising thing for people."
Josh Balfour, cool guy
Later on in the week, Josh sent me this tweet from a cyber security researcher. The tweet explains that this is 'just your average ransomware' reminding us all that attacks like this are just a matter of routine, and very often nothing to do with passionate sweet revenge (and everything to do with cold, hard, 💲GreenStuff).
☝️ HOWEVER: my conversation with Rosa confirmed that just because gamers weren't behind this, their response should not be ignored. It's indicative that both gamer culture and crunch culture need to get straight into a very large bin.
"I'm actually more concerned about all the comments from other gamers that say 'they deserved this'. It points to the fact that gamer culture does have to evolve, because they believe that this behaviour is justified, because they feel ripped-off. Like they have straight up called [Cyberpunk 2077] fraud, which is ridiculous. All because they spent £60 on a game which didn't live up to their expectations."
Rosa Carbo-Mascarell, person who I hope I can hug again one day
Oh hi irony, you're back: this attack was most likely not orchestrated by gamers, and nothing to do with anyone's opinion on Cyberpunk 2077... YET gamers are using it as a way to justify their collective anger. The conversation about crunch culture is once again narrowly avoided; folks like Josh and Rosa continue to roll their eyes in unison.
🤯 Twitter are considering subscription models??!
This is all just talk, and very early stage. I've not been able to find too much chat about this, but from what I gather, they are thinking about things like:
- Paying for Tweetdeck: thank god, because all Tweetdeck has done since Twitter acquired it in 2011 is suck harder and harder.
- Tipping people for their tweets: paying people for their content? That makes me uncomfortable and I refuse to do it — please take my data instead so that later you can tell me what to buy. This pandemic is BORING and I need more STUFF*
- 'Pro' features: like changing the colours of your profile — which actually used to be a feature of Twitter, and was useful for catching serial killers (e.g. anyone who stuck to the default blue). And also, 'undo send'. This sounds fine for spelling mistakes. This sounds bad for people who need a public forum to tell them that their views are problematic.
*This was of course sarcasm; I dunno if tips are quite the right way but paying for content in general is definitely better than not paying for it (YES I know you receive Horrific/Terrific for free — the difference is, I do not harvest your data)
Over all, I think this: any discussions around flipping their business model so that the users are the customers, and not the advertisers, is good. Surely? Prove me wrong!
🍳 More bytes for your ravenous brain
Did all of you get together and organise a competition on who could send me the most news this week? Because that's what it felt like...
⚡ This week in Dystopia: Bitcoin's energy consumption has now surpassed Argentina's. Just FYI: it surpassed the energy consumption of many other countries already, Argentina is just the newest one...
👁️ Visual misrepresentation: AI is still quite rubbish at understanding images — this cow is too sexual for Facebook, and my girlfriend's phone confused her own face with that of a new born baby (it made a slideshow of ‘growing up)
🗞️ News Royalties: the EU are copying Australia's idea to charge big tech firms, like Google, money for providing links to news articles. I wrote about the Australia thing briefly last week. Let's hope that Google don't threaten to pull out of the EU either.
🎮 Speaking of Google being utterly shit: the maker of Terraria has been entirely locked out of his Google account, meaning he can no longer access his Youtube channel, his email, and a bunch of other crap that he heavily relied on Google to supply. His response? Pull Terraria off of Stadia.